News

Christmas in Colonial America wasn’t always festive

Christmas in Colonial America wasn’t always festive

CHRISTMAS IN COLONIAL TIMES: The festivities weren't always so bright in early America. Photo: clipart.com

Christmas in America has become a mixture of both secular and religious themes, a time of joy, gratitude and celebration.

But in Colonial times, it was a different story.

Surprisingly little is known about how early Americans celebrated Christmas.

That’s because historians of the day spent their time chronicling politics and wars, not holidays.

But it is known that the early settlers of Virginia, Maryland and Georgia brought English customs with them, while in New York, New Jersey and Pennsylvania the traditions of Holland, Sweden and Germany were carried on.

In New England, Christmas was long frowned upon. The Puritans associated it with the Church of England and the old-world customs they were escaping, including feasting, drinking and playing games.

Christmas and other holiday celebrations were banned in Massachusetts from 1659 until 1681. A law was passed declaring that anyone who observed a holiday would be fined five shillings.

The first state to declare Christmas a legal holiday was Alabama, in 1836.

Recent Headlines

in Local

Westhampton Home Damaged By Lightning

lightning

An isolated home in Westhampton has been badly damaged by fire after being hit by lightning

in Local

Alex Morse Kicks Off Re-Election Campaign

alex morse

Holyoke Mayor Alex Morse has launched his campaign for a third term

in Local

Mass Streams to Gain Federal Protections

riveralt2

More than half of Massachusetts’ streams will gain federal protections under a new rule signed by the Obama administration

in National

FCC takes aim at annoying telemarketing calls

robocalls

Those automated phone calls during the dinner hour, late at night or to your wireless phone can be so frustrating — and the government is taking note.

in National

Deadly storms destroy homes, set new rain record

floodingtexas

Hundreds of people were ordered to evacuate flood-threatened areas of Texas as torrential rains battered the state.